SEL assessments are a valuable investment, but when not implemented with a strengths-based, growth-oriented focus, they can be more harmful than helpful. This brief is designed to help practitioners and policymakers make informed choices. Our national advisory group of educators recommends:
- Begin with a strong vision and intentionality.
- Assess social and emotional competencies on the basis of strengths, not deficits.
- Make sure you have a positive organizational culture and climate.
- Use an equity lens to mitigate bias and promote appreciation of diversity.
- Recognize and promote adult social and emotional competence.
- Assess for growth, rather than finite outcomes.
- Help adults use data effectively.
- Use SEL data to continuously improve practice.
- Authentically engage and collaborate with stakeholders about assessment.
- Use data to inform both universal and differentiated educational approaches.
Each recommendation includes a rationale, suggested actions, and reflection questions.